Cévennes National Park: thousand-year-old landscapes shaped by women and men
The landscapes of the Cévennes bear the thousand-year-old signature of human activities. Their charm, often with a sense of mystery, is based on the delicate balance between nature and culture. Various megaliths and ruins dot this territory where dry-stone dwellings and terrace cultivations reflect the real osmosis between women and men and their environment.
The Cévennes National Park is dotted with constructions and farming, pastoral, artisan and religious building structures. These landscapes come from thousands of years of pastoralism and transhumance, but not just that. The influences are so numerous, agricultural roots so ancient that it’s hard to spot them all. And of course we have to mention the megalithic ruins, the Gallo-Roman key routes which cross the country, the silk worm factories and silk spinning industries of the 19th century and the chestnut orchards developed in the Middle Ages. So many signs of abundant human activities which have shaped the Cevenol landscapes
A land for transmitting know-how
Certain farming and artisanal techniques have disappeared today, but many skills continue and are revived: transhumance, the production of pélardon goat cheese, the art of dry-stone and lauze, the cultivation of chestnuts. Farmers, beekeepers, livestock farmers, Cévenol guides and hosts preserve the beauty of the territories and its riches. They’re waiting for you to share their attachment to their land, their knowledge and their unique know-how.
Stop at the Espinas hamlet
The Espinas hamlet, on the cliff road, was in former times a very appreciated stop over for those on transhumance. The view of the Cévennes is splendid: you can even see the Alès plains and the pic Saint-Loup. It’s been over 20 years since these inhabitants have decided to make an activity and hosting area. It’s also a top spot for the old and sturdy dry-stone technique, which is still used as it complies with current environmental and economic challenges.
Go back in time to the Cham des Bondons
Megalithic art is one of the most mysterious from the end of the Neolithic Era. 5000 years ago, groups of humans settled and left their print on the landscape of the Cham des Bondons plateau and built imposing stone monuments. With close to 200 known standing stones to date, this site is one of the largest concentrations of menhirs in France. This 5-kilometer trail reveals some of these megaliths and offers a breath-taking view of the Causses.
Admire the terrace landscapes of the Hérault valley
Laying out slopes in terraces is how the Cévonol farmers found a way to add value to their territory and sustain themselves. Here these low walled terraces are called bancels or faïsses and are used to create more flat areas for growing on slopes. High added value farming is practiced, like the growing of sweet onions. These terraces shape the landscape of the Hérault valley and give the sides of the mountains an unparalleled identity.